As a child, I loved being centre of attention – I was never happier than when singing, dancing or acting on stage. Sadly, that confidence started to ebb away at the age of 21 when I gained 4st while expecting my first daughter.

I’d assumed the pounds would disappear after Keira was born. They didn’t, then at five months she contracted a rare, life-threatening illness. That focused all of my attention and I put less effort into cooking; instead, grabbing takeaways, burgers and up to six energy drinks a day to keep me going. My weight hit 15st and I was deeply unhappy.

Food Optimising: a game-changer

The very next week, I nervously joined my local group. My Consultant, Peggy, made me feel so welcome, although I sat through her talk not believing a word! Surely nobody could eat so much and lose weight?

I followed the plan and stepped on the scales the next week… I’d lost 4½lbs. After that I was unstoppable!

After just over a year I was nearly 5st lighter. My fiancé, Jack, lost 3st following the plan at home. People ask me how I juggled it with being a mum, studying for a degree and working. The secret is determination... and lots of planning and prep. Batch cooking is a real life-saver for me.

Now I’m slim, I no longer need the asthma inhalers I once relied on, my mood has lifted and I’ve given up smoking. I’m also going to start singing again. My family say they love having their confident, bubbly Zoey back. And me? I feel transformed!’

With a little help from...

Zoey shares the tricks that made a difference to her slimming journey, and the treats (and people) that spurred her to success:

  • I wanted to be slim in time to graduate… and I did it. I received my degree in child and adolescent mental health last November.

  • It’s wonderful to feel that I’m a healthy role model. After years of being too embarrassed, now I’m always taking the girls for a swim or on a family bike ride. I love seeing them enjoy being active.

  • Slimming alongside Jack has been really rewarding – we’re both happier with the way we look, and our relationship is so much stronger. We’re incredibly proud of each other.

  • I walk a lot more now, and I also go running. Music makes exercising seem much easier, so I’ve bought proper sports earphones.

  • Every time I got to the next stone award, I bought myself something to celebrate, such as a gorgeous addition for my charm bracelet.

*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.